Nintendo on Atari: Donkey Kong

Today, Nintendo is primarily known for its excellent first-party games that it produces for its unique consoles and handhelds. But there was a time when Nintendo games were a lot more platform-agnostic than they are now.

That time was the early ’80s — specifically, the years before the release of the Famicom in 1983, and its Western incarnation, the Nintendo Entertainment System, in 1985. During this time, Nintendo was making arcade games. And there was a great hunger for ports of these arcade games to home-based systems of the time.

Nintendo’s 1981 classic Donkey Kong was a game that got ported to pretty much every platform imaginable at the time. And the 1983 version for Atari home computers was one of the best.

This is a cross-post with my new site Atari A to Z; please head over there and follow if you’re interested in Atari computers, games, software and hardware!

Continue reading Nintendo on Atari: Donkey Kong

Shmup Essentials: Satazius

When you think of Japanese shoot ’em ups, it’s easy to get hung up on nothing but classic arcade and console titles.

But over the years, the PC has played host to a wide variety of its own unique titles, too, with many developers specialising in this highly flexible platform thanks to its ease of digital distribution and free marketplace.

One such developer that has come to prominence over the last few years is Astro Port, and its title Satazius is one of its best, alongside the similarly excellent Zangeki Warp.

Continue reading Shmup Essentials: Satazius

Visual Novel Maker: How to Look Fontastic

Last time in our exploration of Degica’s Visual Novel Maker, we looked at how you can create your own custom characters to form the cast for your next masterpiece.
Today we’re going to look at something a little more mundane but just as important to the overall experience of your game: the user interface. Specifically, we’re going to take a look at some ways in which you can customise the way it looks and feels.

This is one of those steps you can quite easily skip when putting something together in a package like Visual Novel Maker, but using something other than the default UI not only helps your game look more polished, it gives you a greater feeling of ownership over the whole experience — so do consider taking a few of these steps on your next project!

Note: This post has been updated with some helpful advice from Archeia, a member of the VNMaker team. Please give it another read even if you’ve already looked it over!

Continue reading Visual Novel Maker: How to Look Fontastic

Puzzler Essentials: Lumines

There’s been an unwritten rule ever since the days of the Game Boy that every major new handheld system must launch with at least one awesome puzzle game.

Sony’s PlayStation Portable was no exception, launching with the wonderful Lumines (pronounced “luminous”, not “loo-mines”, as I’ve heard some people call it), a game that combined the familiar style of falling-block puzzling with the synaesthetic blend of light and sound patterns designer Tetsuya Mizuguchi had used to such great effect in his renowned Dreamcast title Rez, and which he would later use once again in the PSP versions of Gunpey and Every Extend Extra.

Lumines isn’t a complex game in mechanical terms. But it is most definitely not a quick-hit throwaway experience, either; on the contrary, when you sit down for a game of Lumines, expect to be staring glassy-eyed at your PSP for at least half an hour before you’ll be able to tear yourself away.

Continue reading Puzzler Essentials: Lumines

Waifu Wednesday: Athena 2.0

A real highlight of Rance 5D is the amount of time you get to spend with Athena 2.0.

Utterly devoted to her master, but in a completely different way to the genuine feelings Sill holds for Rance, this rather peculiar artificial lifeform is a reliable source of comedy, cuteness and, more often than not, erotic scenes.

She’s definitely a memorable character for sure, and her interactions with Rance, Sill and the rest of the cast form an important part of Rance 5D as a whole.

(There’s a disappointing lack of Athena fanart around the Internet, so there’s a couple of mildly NSFW images from the games after the jump; consider yourself warned!)

Continue reading Waifu Wednesday: Athena 2.0

Visual Novel Maker: The Breath of Life

Last time, we looked at how to get up and running with Visual Novel Maker as soon as possible using its built-in assets and template project.

Today we’re going to take a look at how you can use your own assets to create something unique to you! Because built-in assets are all well and good — and Visual Novel Maker certainly has some lovely default artwork and character designs — but if you’re serious about getting creative, you’ll want to take control of as much about your work as possible.

That means, among other things, creating your own characters with which to tell your story. So let’s take a look at that today!

Continue reading Visual Novel Maker: The Breath of Life

Shmup Essentials: Raiden V

It’s interesting to see how the Raiden series has evolved over time, what with it being one of the longest-running series of shoot ’em ups that is still relevant today.

Raiden V is probably the biggest “reinvention” the series has seen since its inception — and consequently may take a little adjusting to for series veterans in particular — but it’s still very much recognisable as an installment in this classic series.

For those less familiar with shoot ’em ups — or those interested in getting involved in the modern side of this challenging, fascinating genre — Raiden V is certainly something of a trial by fire, but it’s a very rewarding journey to take.

Continue reading Shmup Essentials: Raiden V

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